With years of hard work gaining experience in the coffee and hospitality industries, in 2019 friends Tom and Anthony decided to leave the company where they were working and strike out on their own. They opened their first coffee shop, Good as Gold, in central London, serving outstanding coffee and tasty treats to office workers in need of a caffeine fix (including many of the Square UK team!)
After a strong start, the arrival of COVID-19 and the subsequent national lockdown forced a change of direction for the pair. With the recent UK government roadmap out of lockdown announced, we caught up with Tom and Anthony to hear about how the pandemic has impacted their business, how they’ve adapted to the changes forced upon them, and to find out about swapping the bustle of Central London for the chilled vibes of a more residential area.
Tell us a little bit about how Good As Gold started.
Good as Gold started when me and Anthony had a dream of teaming up and starting our own place. We worked for the same company previously, and worked really hard for them. It was a good job but we felt it was time to go in a different direction, and this ended up with us opening a coffee shop together in Fitzrovia not far from the Square office. Unfortunately, when Covid hit it dramatically affected us and we had to close.
What drove your decision to move to and open a new location?
With the centre of the city being a ghost town, and scared about opening back up there again, we decided to go residential. We will miss the Monday to Friday lifestyle, but can’t wait to build new customer relationships in our big, new space.
Tell us a bit about the area and the community there
Brockley is a really cool area of south east london. It’s a lot more chilled than Peckham, but still has that hipster sort of vibe to it.
It’s a bit of a hidden gem to some people, but some people don’t get it as it’s quite spread out - not everything is in the same area. It has a great farmers market on a Saturday and a nice big park with lots of independent shops around the station.
You began work on your new location in the middle of some really challenging times due to COVID-19. Did you ever think twice about opening?
To be honest, we’ve never looked back. We are both go-getters and loved our shop before having to close it. It’s a shame it happened, but it pushed us to do what we always wanted to do: open a big, relaxed shop. It’s just a bit earlier than anticipated in the bigger picture.
What are some of the ways you’ve had to adapt your plans for business operations to cater to the new ‘COVID-19’ normal?
We had to work hard with online sales like most businesses. We set up an online coffee subscription service and online shop. Square was great to help get this started for us.
How have you used Square to help run your business in the past, and how do you plan on using it in your new location?
The new location will be all Square - we’ll have two Square Terminals with no cash. Super easy and you can carry them around with you.
What is your best advice for other budding business owners?
If you have a great business plan / idea, go for it. It’s really important to have some savings and strong people around you for support. It can be really tough as we’ve seen over the last year, but those few supports will make it a success.
Keep an eye out on the Good as Gold Instagram to be first to hear about their plans for reopening - we’re looking forward to visiting in person as soon as we’re allowed. In the meantime, you can get your coffee fix from their online shop.